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July 2009
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The right to grow your own

Worth noting: NORML makes a point about the upcoming legalization debate that should be obvious, but about which reformers will need to be vigilant.

Allowing for the legal, personal cultivation of cannabis provides consumers with the option to grow their own product should commercially available sources offer cannabis that fails to meet the consumers‰ needs because it is excessively expensive, too heavily taxed, or of inferior quality. The mere threat of consumers exercising this option should be sufficient to assure that the legal market for cannabis will be responsive to the needs of consumers, and will not be exploitive.
So when any organization or any state or federal legislator proposes legalizing cannabis, either for medical use or for personal pleasure, but forbids the consumer from growing their own cannabis, those of us who lobby on this issue must insist on amendments to permit personal cultivation.

Update: Alex disagrees.

I don’t care how tightly regulated regulate the market is as long as the controls are primarily civil rather than criminal. I don’t care if you can “grow your own” as long as somebody is allowed to grow it for you, legally, and sell it to you legally, and you are permitted to use it legally, as an adult. […]
Marijuana partisans should recognize this if their goal is to get legislation passed and not simply to spend time thinking about utopian alternatives to the status quo.

Marijuana and Mental Illness? Not so fast.

Junk science exposed again.
It doesn’t matter how good the scientific research is… it is still junk science if it results in implied conclusions, particularly when they are publicized based on political opportunism rather than waiting to follow through to real proof.
The whole connection of marijuana to schizophrenia and psychosis that has been touted worldwide was clearly in that category – no proof of causality, evidence of self-medication, and lack of certainty regarding diagnosing the onset of the conditions. Yet, all sorts of “serious” people have accepted as certain that marijuana causes schizophrenia and psychosis.
Paul Armentano analyzes the situation:

Most notably perhaps, a team of researchers writing in the July 28, 2007 edition of the prestigious scientific journal The Lancet, boldly proclaimed that smoking cannabis could boost one‰s risk of a psychotic episode by 40 percent or more. […]
Of course, there was a fatal flaw with The Lancet‰s argument Ö one that, oddly enough, every single MSM outlet failed to mention. Empirical data did not support the investigators‰ hypothesis that smoking marijuana was associated with increased rates of schizophrenia or other mental illnesses among the general public Ö a fact that even the authors begrudgingly admitted when they declared, ‹Projected trends for schizophrenia incidence have not paralleled trends in cannabis use over time.Š […]
Two years after The Lancet‰s dire predictions, a team of researchers at the Keele University Medical School have once and for all put the ‘pot-and-mental illness‰ claims to the test. […]

‹[T]he expected rise in diagnoses of schizophrenia and psychoses did not occur over a 10 year period. This study does not therefore support the specific causal link between cannabis use and incidence of psychotic disorders. á This concurs with other reports indicating that increases in population cannabis use have not been followed by increases in psychotic incidence.Š [Abstract]

Oops.
Just add it to the long list of scary marijuana stories… it’ll turn you into a bat/ax murderer/assassin, it’ll make black men look at a white woman twice, it’ll kill your brain cells, grow man-boobs, make you unmotivated, destroy your memory, cause cancer, make you get pregnant or shoot your best friend, fund terrorists, destroy your sperm, and a whole lot of other things.

Asking the right questions

Can you imagine such a thing? Via Tom Angell… The Rhode Island Senate unanimously passed a bill to create a nine-member study commission to ask these and other questions:

“Whether and to what extent Rhode Island youth have access to marijuana despite current laws prohibiting its use… Whether adults’ use of marijuana has decreased since […]

Massive military seizure in Afghanistan of 1.3 tons of ‘super-poppy’ seeds turns out to be delicious with rice

It was just the sort of good news the British military in Helmand needed. Soldiers engaged in Operation Panther’s Claw, the huge assault against insurgent strongholds last week, had discovered a record-breaking haul of more than 1.3 tonnes of poppy seeds, destined to become part of the opium crop that generates $400m (£243m) a year for the Taliban. […]
A press release hailed the success of the offensive, and armoured vehicles were hastily laid on to allow the media, including the Guardian, to visit the site where the seizure was made, an abandoned market and petrol station that was still coming under sustained enemy fire when the reporters arrived.

They sure do love to show off when they get a major haul, don’t they? Even though it has very little impact on overall availability.
This particular haul, though, had even less impact on the availability of poppies in Afghanistan.

Major Rupert Whitelegge, the commander of the company in charge of the area, tugged at one of the enormously heavy white sacks.
“They are definitely poppy seeds,” he said emphatically.
Except they weren’t. Analysis of a sample carried out by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation in Kabul for the Guardian has revealed that the soldiers had captured nothing more than a giant pile of mung beans, a staple pulse eaten in curries across Afghanistan.
Embarrassed British officials have now admitted that their triumph has turned sour and have promised to return the legal crop to its rightful owner.

The 1.3 tonnes of beans have a street value of around $1,300.

[Thanks, Chris]